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"Forming ad hoc battalions on the battlefield" Topic

9 Posts

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561 hits since 15 May 2024
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Kirk Yaro15 May 2024 11:21 a.m. PST

Friends, please help me figure out one nuance for the division-level Napoleonics rules I am currently developing and playtesting.

Were division, brigade or regiment commanders able, right on the battlefield, to form ad hoc battalions out of the remnants of other battalions broken in this battle? To collect stragglers and return them to the battle as new provisional units? Or to attach stragglers to formed battalions?
If yes, what time could it possibly take?

TimePortal15 May 2024 11:32 a.m. PST

Should not be a tactical issue at that level of play.
Cavalry May only make one charge in a battle or two at the most. The disorganization made them ineffective so multiple long charges were not the practice.
The issue of infantry fighting to defend or arrack a built up area or a castle per se, was the the units involved were disordered and no longer combat effective at any where near full strength.

In game design a casualty, hit, represents, captured KIA, WIA, fleeing and demoralized personnel. So at your level it would be hard to say which the men were,
At most a saving roll on a casualty could present the rallying ability.

Kirk Yaro15 May 2024 11:37 a.m. PST


BillyNM16 May 2024 1:42 a.m. PST

I can't think of any occasions when this happened. Getting troops to respond to different commanders would be hard in the stress of battle. More likely reduced units would operate alongside each other but still looking to their own familiar chain of command for direction. An example of something like that was the combination of two battalions into one square for some the British units weakened at Quatre Bras but that's not a response to losses in the ongoing fight.

Valmy9217 May 2024 3:49 a.m. PST

I've read of much lower level (squad, platoon, maybe company) pulled together of local remnants in World War II, but nothing higher level or Napoleonic. Usually see it as pulling together a last ditch defense, also collecting whatever paratroopers landed nearby on D-Day.
Note, this is an era when you didn't have to do close order drill to be effective.

dbf167617 May 2024 4:38 p.m. PST

This was not in Napoleon's time, but at the battle of Lund between Denmark and Sweden in 1676, the Swedes reorganized the remnants of their battalions into "new" battalions, apparently placing the men from the more beat up ones into the larger remaining units. This took about two hours, it seems. They were able to do so because they retreated behind a wall which ran along a road that ran across the battlefield and also because the Danes were so beat up that they were also reorganizing their units. The Swedes eventually won.

Kirk Yaro18 May 2024 4:58 a.m. PST

Danke sehr!

14Bore18 May 2024 11:02 a.m. PST

Artillery seems to have been easily swapped out, joined with others or broken up for separate tasks

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